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Revealed: Fifth of cancer patients in Redbridge only diagnosed after emergency hospital visit

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 July 2019

A fifth of cancer patients in Redbridge are only diagnosed after an emergency visit to hospital. Picture: Denise Bradley

A fifth of cancer patients in Redbridge are only diagnosed after an emergency visit to hospital. Picture: Denise Bradley

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A fifth of cancer patients in Redbridge are only diagnosed after an emergency visit to hospital, figures reveal.

Public Health England (PHE) says people with cancer stand a much slimmer chance of surviving when their diagnosis comes via an emergency admission, compared to other routes.

Cancer Research UK says people with unusual or persistent symptoms should be able to seek early help more easily.

In 2018, 1,110 patients were admitted to hospital with cancer in the NHS Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group area, the latest Public Health England data shows.

Of them, 220 (20per cent) were admitted as an emergency, rather than through routes such as screening programmes or routine GP referrals.

Patients diagnosed in this way are more likely to have more advanced and difficult to treat cancers.

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A spokesman for NHS Redbridge CCG said: "Along with our local partners, improving early diagnosis rates for cancer is a priority for the CCG and, while there is still work to be done, our GPs have already made huge efforts to do this by sending more people with suspected symptoms to be seen at hospital much sooner.

"We are also working closely with colleagues at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust to speed up the referral process so GPs can send their patients directly to specialist clinics to help identify those with cancer much earlier."

A specialist Macmillan-funded GP in Redbridge also works to raise awareness of cancer and develop their knowledge so GPs can identify patients who need to be referred to hospital urgently.

Dr Jodie Moffat, head of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said GPs have made huge efforts to improve early diagnosis by referring more people with suspected cancer symptoms to be seen at hospital within two weeks.

"But significant numbers of people still continue to be diagnosed with cancer after they've turned up at A&E," she added.

"The reasons for this are complex, but encouraging people to seek help early for unusual or persistent symptoms, and reducing any barriers to seeking help, might help to bring this number down."

Across England, 19pc of cancer patients admitted to hospital arrived as an emergency case last year.

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